15/08/2018 - 09:14

Collaboration key for niche art works

15/08/2018 - 09:14

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Rick Vermey has been creating art since childhood, and recently found a niche producing integrated public works.

Collaboration key for niche art works
Rick Vermey says his new work is a collaborative achievement. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Rick Vermey has been creating art since childhood, and recently found a niche producing integrated public works.

The Perth visual artist’s latest installation is located at the entrance of Defence Housing Australia’s new Liv Apartments, after Mr Vermey topped a shortlist of five art teams to win the commission as part of the City of Fremantle’s ‘Percent for Art’ scheme.

Mr Vermey’s design pays homage to the movement of the water in Fremantle Harbour, and the ever-present force of the wind.

“It’s really a response to the overarching core narrative of Fremantle,” Mr Vermey told Business News.

“So much of Freo’s core story over time is connected to the harbour.”

Mr Vermey has used materials that will fit with the existing Fremantle landscape, after examining the physical qualities of the space around the new apartments.

Rusty steel, patina copper and aged salty brass are all elements intended to align the artwork with Fremantle’s port history.

This installation was a collaborative effort by Mr Vermey and computational design specialist Daniel Giuffre.

The pair has used algorithms and parametric software to drive the design of the project.

Mr Vermey views the collaboration as an extension of his ongoing enquiry with digitalisation, utilising advanced computational tools that are commonplace in architecture and engineering.

The digital approach has also allowed the installation team to be flexible in the face of challenges.

“If a wall is not exactly in the right place, or if a column is not exactly true and plumb, we can adapt the model and then adjust the construction of the frames in the factory on the go,” Mr Vermey said.

He said he had found a niche creating artwork that was integrated into the fabric of a building, and that ‘integrated art’ was a growth area, noting support from local and state government through the Percent for Art scheme.

The scheme employs Western Australian artists to create artwork for major new public buildings, requiring up to 1 per cent of the construction budget for new works over $2 million to be expended on artwork.

Producing permanent public art allowed Mr Vermey to give back to the community in a way he said enhanced people’s day-to-day experiences of place.

Despite difficulties facing many artists in the current climate, he believed his ability to collaborate had allowed him to work for 15 years as an artist.

Mr Vermey has worked with skilled tradesmen, installers, architects, and lighting programmers to get this artwork to completion.

He said the final product was the result of an extensive team that proved essential to the design, production and installation phases.

The new artwork will be open to the public at Liv Apartment’s open day on August 18.

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